This episode makes an early run at being the years best episode
So Hippo/Warp (I’ll probably keep using Warp until Kaiba becomes his name again) lands his escape pod on the near planet but it happens to be the same planet that the starship was heading for so he’s not safe yet. He almost gets caught by one of the sheriffs but is saved by a young girl, named Chroniko. She decides to help our hero because this is her last day in her body and she wants to do as she pleases.She takes him to her favorite spot, a hill near her house, to look at the sky as day fades to night, because they’ll be safe there.
Chroniko’s family has apparently fallen on hard times and she’s more than willing to do anything to help them. She’s already sold her memories of music and books to help the family. She tells our hero that her body has fetched quite a price and that she should feel proud of that. She then shows Warp her boots, which she loves to death, and says that they were a gift from her mom, even though they didn’t have much money.
After they watch the stars come out, Chroniko mentions that even though she’s losing her body, she’s not dieing since her mom will have Chroniko’s memory chip and when her family can afford to buy her a body (presumably when her younger brothers start working) then she’ll be reunited with her family.
The show cuts to the next day and we see Chroniko at the memory facility, trying to remain calm. The guy doing the procedure tells her that it’ll take about a week for her chip to be delivered home and starts the procedure. The guy pulls a Light Yagami and tells her that he won’t be delivering her memory chip and she has one moment of realization of her impending death before the procedure finishes. He releases her roe, those yellow bean things that make up a person’s memories, and we watch as they float up and out of the room.
We cut to Hippo/Warp and he notices a transport that looks like its carrying Chroniko so he follows it. The pair that is driving this transport apparently are the middle-men in the body trade, buying Chroniko’s body from the guy that did the memory procedure. They stash her body in a trash heap so they can save on fuel costs and go off to hopefully sell her. Warp tries to wake her up, but all she does is blink. So he uses the device that allows a person to look into other’s memories (memory gun) and finds that she is completely devoid of any memories. Even as the hippo, we can tell that Warp is very upset/angry.
In the mean time the sheriff, Vanilla, from the ship is going to catch Hippo/Warp so the helicopter creature takes Warp’s memory chip and puts it into Chroniko’s body and deflates the hippo’s body. The sheriff, of course, doesn’t realize Chroniko/Warp is the guy he’s been after for fleeing the ship. Instead the sheriff falls in love with her/him.
We cut back to Chroniko’s house and see Chroniko’s mom (really her aunt) trying to justify herself – does this mean that her aunt knew that Chroniko wasn’t going to be put onto a memory chip for later retrieval and that she is never coming back. Warp sits outside, overhears the mom, and is clearly very angry. He uses the memory gun after she goes to sleep to look at her memories. We see that this family’s fortunes have been slowly sinking and also that the aunt is really very broken up over what she did.
Warp leaves the house just as the body dealers show up with the buyer of Chroniko’s body. He gets cornered but is saved at the last moment by the sheriff Vanilla. Vanilla offers to take her with him on the ship and is very surprised when Chroniko/Warp agrees.
The show ends with a final montage of the aunt’s memories and a shot of Chroniko/Warp shedding a tear (see the Youtube clip to watch this and see the great use of animation and music).
From both flashbacks we see Chroniko’s mom dieing and entrusting Chroniko to her sister. Her sister marries at some point and has twin boys. Her life still seems to be going okay but then she’s involved in some sort of industrial accident and loses her arms then her husband dies. Taking care of the family by herself becomes too much which leads to the selling Chroniko’s body. What I find interesting is both flashbacks don’t quite agree: in one, Chroniko receives her boots from just her aunt and in the other she receives her boots from both her aunt and uncle.
I think one of the marks of a very good episode is that it makes the viewer feel many different feelings and this episode definitely did this. Shock, outrage, sadness, and anger were just some of the feelings I felt while watching this episode. This show is really making it’s case as being the best show of the season – not only is it an intelligential series but it makes you feel for the characters and that’s a potent 1-2 combination. Throw in the ethereal music track and the animation style that really complements the show and it’s easy to see why this episode earns the rating it does.
One final thing I wanted to bring up was the terrorist group that Warp seems to be affiliated with. The news flashes pics of three known terrorists that the authorities are looking for. The middle one is of the girl in Warp’s locket and the bottom one is the guy we meet in the first episode but the top one is someone we haven’t met yet (that definitely not Warp). This really intrigues me, given we only have 12 episodes, I don’t think we have enough time for Warp and his friends to do anything about fixing this screwed up society – at least I hope he can find the girl in the locket.
Rating: 12+++/12, intellectual and emotional – anime and science fiction at it’s best.